The flat is large, spacious. It is just one open area, plus a bathroom and a storage room. It has a little balcony. Some of the walls are odd shaped. Everything is wide and there are safety rails and an accessible shower for your wheelchair. I don’t think I ever took a photo. I never thought that I would want to have a record of that flat. Now it seems important to see it again, as if the image could reconnect me with you a little better.
The kitchen is narrow and small. The fridge is a bar fridge, like you would find in a standard hotel room. That’s very normal for Austria, where half the year the car ride home will chill your drinks perfectly. There’s just enough room to prepare a small meal, but you have to be very methodical and space efficient. There are your usual favourite herbs and spices; caraway seeds, paprika, cumin and pepper.
You eat a lot of cake now. You never used to eat cake at all. It’s sort of scary, to see that change in you, almost as scary as the blood you cough up, or the fragility of your wasted body. Sister and I go to the supermarket on the corner. Red Bull, yoghurt and cake. A few slices of bread- you can buy as much or as little bread as you like. Eierschwammerl are now in the supermarket – little yellow trumpets of apricot and spice that we cook with eggs. That scares me a little too; people still pick them and guard their locations well, but now I can buy them whenever we want. Since you died I have found them for sale dried in a local supermarket here in Australia. I open the packets sometimes and just breathe in and feel the same way I did when I got lost as a small child. That’s what I am; a lost child. And I can never be found.
So we sit in the room, and it’s quite beautiful really. A big open space, the hot summer breeze billowing the curtains. Sunlight floods the space, except for the annex where your workshop is. It sits in the corner, unused, desolate. I remember standing by you as a small child, watching the alchemy of Goldsmithing. That space is shuttered off now. I will have to go back and sort through your tools one day. That cramped little annex, small tools, little gemstones like beetles eyes, gold filings to be saved and reclaimed. You built the world’s smallest working gold mousetrap. A 5mm meat cleaver in white gold and ivory, a miniscule cutlery set. All these small things, and you in the centre of it all, weighing almost nothing. You seem so light that you are almost transparent, as though you are halfway in another plane of existence.
All that space in the flat, except for the parts that matter. A kitchen bench and stove you can’t reach, even if you were hungry. A workshop too small for any real work, and too much pain to focus upon it. You don’t go out very much, where once you could not be contained for too long, and would burst like air from a balloon. You life reduced to a tiny little world, that soon will disappear.